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Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

Lewis Borck, Leiden University and D. Shane Miller, Mississippi State University

When President Barack Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 program that offered undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children a path into society, for a moment the ideals of the American Dream seemed, at least for this group, real.

We call these kids (many of whom are now adults) “Dreamers,” because they are chasing the American Dream – a national aspiration for upward economic mobility built on physical mobility. Fulfilling your dreams often means following them wherever they may lead – even into another country.

The Trump administration’s decision to cancel DACA and build a U.S.-Mexico border wall has endangered those dreams by subjecting 800,000 young people to deportation.

But the notion underlying both the DACA repeal and the wall – which is that “illegal” immigrants, most of them from Mexico, are stealing U.S. jobs and hurting society – reflects a profound misunderstanding of American history.

On Indigenous Peoples Day, it’s worth underscoring something that many archaeologists know: many of the values that inspire the American Dream – liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness – date back to well before the creation of the U.S.-Mexico border and before freedom-seeking Pilgrim immigrants arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620. They originate with native North Americans.

A Native American dream

The modern rendition of the American Dream can be traced back to 1774, when Virginia’s governor, John Murray, the fourth earl of Dunmore, wrote that even if Americans “attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.”

The actual term “American Dream” was popularized in 1931 by the businessman and historian James Truslow Adams. For him, its realization depended on not just being able to better oneself but also, through movement and human interaction, seeing your neighbors bettered as well.

The first peoples to come to the Americas also came in search of a better life. That happened 14,000 years ago in the last Ice Age when nomadic pioneers, ancestors to modern Native Americans and First Nations, arrived from the Asian continent and roamed freely throughout what now comprises Canada, the United States and Mexico. Chasing mammoth, ancient bison and the elephant-like Gomphothere, they moved constantly to secure the health of their communities.

The indigenous communities of the Americas knew none of these modern-day national borders.
USGS

A more recent example of the power of migration reappears about 5,000 years ago, when a large group of people from what is today central Mexico spread into the American Southwest and farther north, settling as far up as western North America. With them they brought corn, which now drives a significant part of the American economy, and a way of speaking that birthed over 30 of the 169 contemporary indigenous languages still spoken in the United States today.

The Hohokam

This globalist world view was alive and well 700 years ago as well when people from what is now northern Arizona fled a decades-long drought and rising authoritarianism under religious leaders. Many migrated hundreds of miles south to southern Arizona, joining the Hohokam (ancestors to modern O’odham nations) who had long thrived in the harsh Sonoran desert by irrigating vast fields of agave, corn, squash, beans and cotton.

When the northern migrants arrived to this hot stretch of land around the then-nonexistent U.S.-Mexico frontier, Hohokam religious and political life was controlled by a handful of elites. Social mechanisms restricting the accumulation of power by individuals had slowly broken down.

For decades after their arrival, migrants and locals interacted. From that exchange, a Hohokam cultural revolution grew. Together, the two communities created a commoners’ religious social movement that archaeologists call Salado, which featured a feasting practice that invited all village members to participate.

As ever more communities adopted this equitable tradition, political power – which at the time was embedded in religious power – became more equally spread through society. Elites lost their control and, eventually, abandoned their temples.

America’s egalitarian mound-builders

The Hohokam tale unearths another vaunted American ideal that originates in indigenous history: equality. Long before it was codified in the Declaration of Independence,, equality was enacted through the building of large mounds.

Massive earthen structures like these are often acts of highly hierarchical societies – think of the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians, constructed by masses of laborers as the final resting place of powerful pharaohs, or those of the rigid, empire-building Aztecs.

But great power isn’t always top-down. Poverty Point, in the lower Mississippi River Valley of what’s now Louisiana, is a good example. This massive site, which consists of five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges and a central plaza, was built some 4,000 years ago by hunter-fisher-gatherers with little entrenched hierarchy.

Poverty Point: a city built on cooperation.
Herb Roe/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Originally, archaeologists believed that such societies without the inequality and authoritarianism that defined the ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Aztec empires could not have constructed something so significant – and, if so, only over decades or centuries.

But excavations in the last 20 years have revealed that large sections of Poverty Point were actually constructed in only a few months. These Native Americans organized in groups to undertake massive projects as a communal cooperative, leaving a built legacy of equality across America’s landscape.

Haudenosaunee

The Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, offer a more modern example of such consensus-based decision-making practices.

These peoples – who’ve lived on both sides of the St. Lawrence river in modern-day Ontario and the U.S. Great Lakes states for hundreds, if not thousands, of years – built their society on collective labor arrangements.

They ostracized people who exhibited “selfish” behavior, and women and men often worked together in large groups. Everyone lived together in communal longhouses. Power was also shifted constantly to prevent hierarchy from forming, and decisions were made by coalitions of kin groups and communities. Many of these participatory political practices continue to this day.

The Haudenosaunee sided with the British during the 1776 American Revolution and were largely driven off their land after the war. Like many native populations, the Haudenosaunee Dream turned into a nightmare of invasion, plague and genocide as European migrants pursued their American Dream that excluded others.

Native Americans at Standing Rock

The long indigenous history of rejecting authoritarianism continues today, including the 2016 battle for environmental justice at Standing Rock, South Dakota.

There, a resistance movement coalesced around a horizontally organized youth group that rejected the planned Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Native American pioneers continue to fight for the same ideals that inspire the American Dream, including equality and freedom.
John Duffy/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

The movement centered on an environmental cause in part because nature is sacred to the Lakota (and many other indigenous communities), but also because communities of color often bear the brunt of economic and urban development decisions. This was the indigenous fight against repression and for the American Dream, gone 21st century.

Redefining the North American dream

Anthropologists and historians haven’t always recognized the quintessentially Native American ideals present in the American Dream.

In the early 19th century, the prominent social philosopher Lewis Henry Morgan called the Native Americans he studied “savages.” And for centuries, America’s native peoples have seen their cultural heritage attributed to seemingly everyone but their ancestors – even to an invented “lost” white race.

America’s indigenous past was not romantic. There were petty disputes, bloody intergroup conflicts and slavery (namely along the Northwest Coast and American Southeast).

But the ideals of freedom and equality – and the right that Americans can move across this vast continent to seek it out – survive through the millennia. Societies based on those values have prospered here.

The ConversationSo the next time a politician invokes American values to promote a policy of closed borders or selfish individualism, remember who originally espoused the American Dream – and first sought to live it, too.

Lewis Borck, Archaeologist, Leiden University and D. Shane Miller, Prehistoric Archeologist, Mississippi State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Pericles – A king without a crown

Click on image to read more | Image credit: CameliaTWU via Flickr http://bit.ly/2wfgOI4

 


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Pelegianism and authoritarian personalities

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Oxford “zero” research re-attests Hinduism’s umpteen contributions to science

Keble College Chapel as viewed across the quad...

Keble College Chapel as viewed across the quadrangle in Oxford, England. Taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 17-40mm f/4L lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

A highly significant research by University of Oxford has revealed that ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript, dating to 3rd or 4th century, contained the world’s oldest recorded origin of the zero symbol that we use today.

The zero symbol that we use today reportedly evolved from a dot that was used in ancient India and can be seen throughout this seminal mathematical text held at University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, which contains hundreds of zeroes. In 628 CE, Indian astronomer/mathematician Brahmagupta wrote Brahmasphutasiddhanta, which is the first document to discuss zero as a number.

Rajan Zed commended Oxford University for this remarkable revelation; and added that this proved that the concept of zero, which was of paramount importance to the world we live in today, was used by mathematicians in India as early as in third century.

English: The usual form of the numeral figures...

The usual form of the numeral figures used in the Bakhshali manuscript (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It again affirmed the rich scientific and mathematical traditions of Hinduism and its role and contributions in the development of science and technology, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.

Rajan Zed at European Parliament via Wikipedia

Rajan Zed urged other major universities of the world; including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Yale, Columbia, Toronto, Tokyo, Melbourne, etc.; to undertake extensive research into ancient Hindu treatises, texts and manuscripts; thus sharing the wisdom and concepts of this oldest religion with the rest of the world.

Radiocarbon dating research was conducted at University of Oxford for this study on Bakhshali manuscript, which consists of 70 fragile leaves of birch bark.

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Can we escape bias implied by language and other signs?

Stories like the one below (tweeted) always give me a slightly dissatisfied feeling. It’s like the big organization is claiming that it can be neutral or objective. Or if that is going too far, at least it implies that its overall perspective is better than the one it tries to replace. This may be the case in many instances. But to subtly suggest that we can objectively rewrite the past is questionable.

I say this because the author writes within the framework of the Smithsonian. An objective institution? Well, take a look at the funding and decide for yourself.

Admittedly, just because someone is funded does not mean that overt bias is present. But surely there is subtle bias. The way a story is presented. What is acceptable and what is not.

So the first tweet (top) raised a bit of a red flag for me today. I get the same feeling whenever Wikipedia tries to be monolithic. Humans are biased. It’s one power group over another. Always has been that way and probably always will be.


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The Acropolis: Centerpiece of Athens

The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of ...

The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. Location 23°43’35.69″E 37°58’17.39″N – Wikipedia

By Victoria Darrow

The Acropolis dedicated to its patron goddess, Athena, has been undergoing massive reconstruction since 1975. The Acropolis is home to several ancient buildings and is situated in the center of the City of Athens.  Probably the best known building is the Parthenon built between 447 and 438 BC.  A proper temple with majestic columns and decorated with sculptures and in particular a statue of Athena in full armor carrying Nike to the Athenians in her right hand.

Pottery shards of the Neolithic period (4000/3500-3000 BC) and, from near the Erechtheion, of the Early and Middle Bronze Age, show that the hill was inhabited from a very early period. A fortification wall was built around it in the thirteenth century BC and the citadel became the center of a Mycenaean kingdom. This early fortification is partially preserved among the later monuments and its history can be traced fairly accurately. The Acropolis became a sacred precinct in the eighth century BC with the establishment of the cult of Athena Polias, whose temple stood at the northeast side of the hill.

Among the major remains at The Acropolis are the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum and the Theatre of Dionysus.  The Acropolis Museum houses all the valuable ancient artifacts on the southern slope near the Parthenon. This is the home of many Greek lessons taught to students from all around the world.

Since 1975, The Acropolis Restoration Project has been working to bring back the majesty of the ruin rather than trying to recreate its original look. The mission is to reverse damages caused by man and not nature.  Wars, vandalism and previous alterations and restoration attempts have caused considerable structural problems and further destruction.  The Project is employing many modern methods using cranes to haul giant marble pieces, but also ancient Greek building techniques and materials are crucial to maintaining its integrity as a ruin.

For example, the restoration of the temple of Athena Nike was completed in 2010; you may search for photos online and compare them to photos on Greek books, you will be able to see that the new pieces only restored to temple while maintaining it as an ancient ruin. The intervention is only meant to remove current and future damage from previous restorations and restore structural integrity.

The Restoration Project may take as long as 2020 to be totally complete, but the painstaking care to restore the ancient site using methods that can be reversed in the future will help ensure that it remains the centerpiece of Athens for millennia to come.  It is especially important in helping to preserve Greek language and culture by bringing to life this magnificent site for them to see.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/history-articles/the-acropolis-centerpiece-of-athens-6258425.html

About the Author

Greek123 and Papaloizos Publications, located in Silver Spring, MD is the oldest publisher of Greek language lessons in the United States. The company publishes text books, readers, workbooks, audio CDs, and videos for the instruction of Greek. The curriculum is written and designed by Dr. Theodore C. Papaloizos, who has been writing and publishing Greek lessons in America for over 50 years. For more information on the Greek123 product line for people of all ages visit http://www.greek123.com/ or call toll- frees 1-855-473-3512.

Note – Since this article was first published, there have been some changes to articlesbase.com. The original links have been left intact. 


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Ditadura e fascismo. É tudo igual?

Use Google translate if necessary. It’s worth it. –MC

Miluramalho's Blog

“Fascismo: O Governo duma ditadura, marcado pelo controle da economia pelo Estado, pela arregimentação social e por uma ideologia de nacionalismo beligerante;

 

Nazismo: Fascismo, segundo praticado pelo Partido Nacional-Socialista dos Trabalhadores Alemães, sob Hitler.

 

A PALAVRA “fascismo” geralmente suscita imagens de milícias militares italianas de camisas pretas e de tropas de assalto alemãs, de uniformes pardos, portando a suástica. Mas outros países também tiveram suas experiências com o fascismo.

Na década de 30, o fascismo ganhou destaque na Hungria, na Romênia e no Japão. Durante a Guerra Civil Espanhola, o apoio fascista ajudou Francisco Franco a obter o controle da Espanha, embora a maioria dos historiadores não encare a ditadura de Franco (1939-75) como tendo sido de natureza genuinamente fascista. A ditadura argentina de Juan D. Perón (1943-55), por outro lado, era fascista.

O termo “fascismo” provém da palavra italiana fascio e refere-se a um antigo símbolo romano de…

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